War in Congo Is Over Profit—From Us

Westerners fund violence over control of minerals
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 1, 2008 8:47 AM CDT
Displaced people walk on the road as they return home, Friday, Oct. 31, 2008 near Kibati just north of Goma in eastern Congo.   (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo)
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(Newser) – We’re told that the renewed bloodshed in Congo is spurred by tribal conflict and payback for the Rwandan genocide, but that’s not true, writes Johann Hari in the Independent. In fact, the war starting again there—"the deadliest war since Adolf Hitler"—is over Congo’s rich mineral resources—and the wealth generated by selling them to Westerners. “The war in Congo is a war about you,” Hari argues.

“Congo is the richest country in the world for gold, diamonds, coltan, cassiterite, and more,” Hari writes—and they're being pillaged in order to sell them to us. "The rise of mobile phones caused a surge in deaths, because the coltan they contain is found primarily in Congo," he writes. We continue to focus on the need for a “bandage” for the problem rather than our own role at its roots. It’s time to recognize our error and prosecute the firms that are buying the “blood-soaked natural resources,” Hari says.